Q: What is the difference in grass fed and grain fed?
A: In the past, cattle roamed free and ate grass. However, today cattle are often fed grains. When calves are born they drink milk from their mothers and then roam free, eating grass, weeds and other edible plants. Typically, they do this for about 6-12 months at which time they are then sold and moved to feed lots. Here cows are rapidly fattened up with corn or soy based grains and frequently given drugs and hormones to grow more quickly. Many are given antibiotics to counteract disease due to unsanitary living conditions. The nutrient composition of beef is largely determined by the way cows are fed.
Grass fed cows continue to live on grassland their entire lives. They are given no corn, soy or other grain based products. They are given no drugs, hormones or antibiotics. The cows have a better quality of life and are slaughtered humanely, therefore, releasing no stress hormones which can taint the flavor of the meat.
Q: Does grass fed beef taste different?
A: Yes, it does. The extra omega 3 and beta carotene will definitely make a difference. That’s the main reason all wild game tastes different than supermarket beef. It is ultimately a combination of the breed, age and how the beef was raised that determines the quality. Grass fed beef generally needs to be cooked at a lower temperature than a grain fed beef for a 30% shorter length of time. For best results, cook your grass fed steaks as rare as possible. For roasts and ribs, cook them at a lower temperature and 30% longer.
Ultimately, grass fed beef is a matter of taste and cooking technique. If you wish to try some before making a purchase, we would be happy to supply you with a free sample to help you make the decision.
Q: Why is grass fed beef more expensive than grain fed beef?
A: Grass finishing beef takes a longer amount of time than grain finishing. Cattle don’t fatten as quickly on grass as they do on grain and growth hormones. The average steer from a feedlot is slaughtered at 14-16 months of age. We slaughter our steers at 24-30 months of age. This translates into carrying them through 2 winters which means we must feed them hay for 2 winters.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. You don’t choose a medical doctor by who is least expensive. You want who is best. In the same manner, your health is largely determined by what you eat. Hippocrates stated “Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food.” Short term, grain fed may be less costly but in the long run, grass fed may be less costly.
Q: How much is it to buy a whole/half/quarter cow?
A: The total cost depends on the weight of the cow. However, on average, a whole cow will cost around $2,500. Please remember, this is not an exact science. These prices are based on our “Average” cow. If you would like a smaller or larger cow, you can specify in the comments section on the order form and we will attempt to accommodate. There are no extra fees for processing. We pay all processing fees for basic retail cuts! Any specialty cuts will be paid by the customer.
You can also purchase a quarter or half cow. Quarter cow is around $700 and half cow is $1300.00.
Q: How does the buying process work for whole/half/quarter?
A: When buying an animal for butcher, after we receive your deposit, you will be put on our order list. On the designated date we will load up the cattle/pig/chicken/lamb into our trailer and take it to the processor. Once the animal is “finished”, you get the actual price you will be paying from an invoice sent to your email. The butcher will speak with you and discuss how you would like the meat cut. If you are unfamiliar with this process, do not worry, the butcher is very knowledgeable and will walk you through the different cuts you can get. Our local processor is USDA certified and will package the meat in vacuum sealed bags and label all the products.
Q: How do I pay?
A: Pay online through our website, visit us at our farm, or send a check through the mail.
Q: How much meat will I get for a whole, half or quarter cow.
A: Whole cow: 336-384 lbs.
Half cow: 160+ lbs.
Quarter cow: 85+ lbs.
It’s impossible to know the exact amount for each cow, but our cows are approximately 1,000 pounds on hoof. Their hanging weight is approximately 40-60% of their on hoof weight. Your take home will be approximately 40-60% of the hanging weight. If you choose boneless cuts, the weight you take home will be less but the amount of meat you take home will be the same. However, if you choose to take the bones and organs, the pounds you take home will be more.
Q: How much freezer space will I need for a whole, half or quarter cow.
A: Whole cow: 14 cubic feet
Half cow: 7 cubic feet
Quarter cow: 4 cubic feet
The size needed may vary depending on the amount of bones and organs you choose to take home.
Q: When will the meat become available?
A: We butcher grassfed beef in the late summer and fall each year. Lamb is generally available summer through fall. Pastured pork will be available in the fall. Chickens will be ready in the summer. We take orders year around. We sell on a first come first serve basis. In order to ensure availability order as early as possible and pay the deposit.
If you have any questions not addressed, do not hesitate to call us. We would love to speak with you and answer any questions you might have!